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Making Waves to Cut Pollution – Plastic Free Bronte

By Leslie Mallinson, Waverley Council’s Sustainable Communities on April 3, 2018 in Other

Sip, not suck.

Let’s face it, single use plastic and litter is screwing up our coastline, and the problem is not going away fast. At Clean Up Australia Day a few weeks ago, plastic litter once again accounted for most of the rubbish in our waterways. Sadness.
On the ground, passionate community groups of volunteers, like new-kid-on-the-block Plastic Free Bronte, are working in collaboration with Council to tackle this issue head-on. We caught up with them to discuss how they are making plastic-free living second nature…

Who is Plastic Free Bronte? We are a small community-based group of passionate volunteers formed in 2016 seeking to greatly reduce plastic pollution and make Bronte free of single-use plastic by 2020. We want to protect, restore and maintain our beautiful, pristine natural environment for everyone to enjoy.

What type of projects do you work on? To achieve our mission we need everyone living, visiting and working in Bronte to be on board. We want to educate people on the impacts of plastic to encourage positive change in their actions.
To begin with, we’re working with local businesses to reduce single-use plastic items and identify alternatives. We are also raising awareness within the community so people stop asking for single-use items such as straws, cups, plastic bags, water bottles or containers, and encouraging people to bring their own reusable items.
In the last year we’ve hosted a film night for 200 locals, coordinated numerous beach clean-ups and raised awareness at school fairs and markets. There’s some great activity already underway at a number of businesses (eliminating straws, for example), as well as Bronte Public School.

What is ‘The Ex-Strawdinary Initiative’? The Ex-Strawdinary Initiative is our current campaign. We are aiming at having every café down at Bronte Beach make pledges, form an alliance and agree not to buy or use plastic straws. In doing so, they will be making a positive and permanent change for our natural environment.

Why did Plastic Free Bronte decide on straws as a priority item? Plastic straws are one of the top polluters found on our beaches, oceans and waterways. They are also too small to be recycled. Straws stood out as the simplest thing for us to tackle first because we simply don’t need them, and it is a tangible and achievable goal for us. There are simple alternatives if people really want a straw, such as good paper straws or reusable straw options made from stainless steel and bamboo). Behaviour change takes time but we believe that people can sip, not suck.

How can people get involved? Come to our next community event at Bronte Surf Life Saving Club on Thursday, March 22 at 7.15pm to learn what we’ve been up to, meet the team, have a chat and also hear from guest speaker Andy Marks on driving impact through the ABC’s War on Waste.
They can also sign-up as a member at plasticfreebronte.org and follow-us on social media to keep up to date with what’s happening.

Waverley Council will be rolling out a targeted program in Bronte to reduce litter and plastic packaging later this year. For more information, please sign up at www.secondnature.org.au.

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